Something for Nothing

something for nothing

With all this talk of a government shutdown, we have a unique opportunity to discuss with our kids the concept of something for nothing. We struggle with this at our house. Our kids have too much money (and more) that has not been earned. It is not their fault. Inflation means the tooth fairy has hiked her rates per tooth, and the grandparents bury the kids with gifts/cash at every opportunity. It is no wonder this generation of teenagers continually struggles with an entitlement mindset. In the best of circumstances, it seems good parents are issuing allowances based on chores that we used to be required to do for free.

I wrote once about the best lesson my father ever taught me. It dealt with learning the value of a dollar through a manual work ethic. Today, fewer and fewer teenagers have a job, even in the summer. They either cannot find work, or they are busy with camps, vacations, or sports. With the latter, perhaps Erwin McManus said it best when he said, “If we are not careful, the blessings of God will keep us from the blessings of God.” Learning the value of hard work, a genuine work ethic, and how to EARN something is a skill that will serve our kids for a lifetime. It is definitely a blessing from God and a responsibility He expects us to pass on to the next generation as they learn about, “working as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).

So what to do? The answers may be as individual as the households that read this, however the challenge is clear. We must find ways to teach our kids (despite the apparent direction of our country) that “easy” does not always equate with good. That working hard brings not only a sense of accomplishment but also glory to the One for Whom we’ve done it. As someone once said, the world belongs to the doers. So let’s teach our kids to be “doers” for the Lord in all areas of life.


Until next time,



About Jeffrey D. Potts, Ed.D.

Raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, Jeff Potts, Ed.D., grew up learning the importance of hard work and family values. A graduate of Baylor University, he has master’s degrees from two universities and earned his Ed.D. in teaching and learning from a fourth institution. Potts launched his pedagogical career in the 1990s, working full-time with students and parents. READ MORE→